241

Lionel Hampton: There Will Never Be Another You

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
Lionel Hampton: There Will Never Be Another You
Legendary vibraphonist Lionel Hampton auditioned Italian-born vocalist Sylvia Bennett in the early '80s, hired her on the spot to sing with his band, and subsequently recorded two albums with her. The first, Sentimental Journey, received a Grammy Award nomination, but the second, recorded in 1989 when Hamp was a frisky eighty years old, sat neglected for reasons unknown ever since and is only now being heard for the first time. And it's high time, too.

To state the case as clearly as possible, the album is a sheer delight. Hamp plays marvelously in front of a large ensemble comprised of south Florida's finest sidemen, and Bennett weighs in with charming vocals on seven tracks, including two contrasting versions of "You Make My Heart Sing (the second marred by electronic gimmickry and pointless commentary by Lionel). One can easily hear why Hampton thought so much of Bennett; her diction is crystal-clear, she sings squarely on-key, respects (and sells) a lyric, and even though she's essentially a pop singer, she knows how to swing when necessary. Oh, and she has a really nice voice.

The album alternates between vocals and instrumentals, with Hamp taking almost all the solos on the latter, which include "Just One of Those Things, "Cookin' in the Kitchen, "Beulah's Boogie, "It Might as Well Be Spring, "Red Top and "Someday. Bennett is warm and enchanting, especially on "Another You, a Brazilian-flavored "Bill Bailey and "Together. Good as the album is, however, there's even more to savor—a thirty-minute companion DVD that explains more fully how the albums came about and shows Hamp and Bennett in action, so to speak (even though a large part of the footage has obviously been re-created, Bennett is lip-synching the lyrics—some in Hamp's kitchen!—and several clips of Lionel leading his band were clearly borrowed from other sources and are unrelated to these sessions).

There are, however, brief but engaging scenes (and stills) of Hamp's band in concert with Bennett as vocalist (including a date at President Ronald Reagan's inauguration in '86). And we learn, for example, that Hamp came to Miami after the tracks for this album had been recorded, adding his vibe (and piano) solos and backgrounds seamlessly to the mix. Works perfectly too; one couldn't tell from listening that he wasn't there when the band was in the studio. Due credit here to the great work by producer/writer/arranger Hal Batt, who's scarcely mentioned on the album but is prominent on the DVD.

Hampton and Bennett were a perfect fit, their second album together is remarkable, and it's a shame they didn't record together more often. But at least we have this one—better late than never—and it's a consistently impressive eye-opener.

Track Listing

Just One of Those Things; There Will Never Be Another You; Cookin

Personnel

Lionel Hampton: leader, vibraphone, synthesizer; Mike Lewis: conductor; Sylvia Bennett: vocals; Jim Hacker, Brett Murphy, Tony Luschen, John Georgini: trumpet; Neil Bonsanti, Billy Ross, Chip McNeill, Jeff King, Whit Sidner: reeds; Phil Gray, Tom Garling, Dana Teboe, Greg Cox: trombone; Hal Batt: keyboards, guitar, bass; Bobby Pancoast: keyboards; Dave Hardman (1-10,13), Gotz Kujack (11,12): drums; Sammy Figueroa: percussion.

Album information

Title: There Will Never Be Another You | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Out of Sight Music

Post a comment about this album

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Read Speak Low II
Speak Low II
Lucia Cadotsch
Read Time OutTakes
Time OutTakes
The Dave Brubeck Quartet
Read Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
Steve Masakowski and the Masakowski Family

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.